2006 Alaska RV Road Trip

Family in front of DenaliFamily in front of DenaliAfter briefly toying with the idea of RVing through Europe (we even rented several Rick Steve tapes and read several books about camping in Europe), we were thwarted by the unavailability of flights with which we could use our frequent flyer mileage. However, the aborted plan was not for naught, because it opened our minds, for the first time, to the option of flying somewhere and renting a motorhome rather than taking our own--something that we had never seriously considered before. Almost simultaneously, Herb and I thought of Alaska, a destination that we had always dreamed of, but were never able to fit into our limited travel schedule. With much excitement, I dug out our dusty 2002 Milepost and dove in.

This was going to be easy compared to planning our previous cross country trips. There just weren't that many roads to choose from, so the itinerary was quite simple: fly into Anchorage, drive up to Denali for a few days, then back through Anchorage down to the Kenai Peninsula for 10 days. Our plan, at least at first, was to make as few reservations as possible so that we wouldn't feel tied down to a schedule. That plan soon went by the wayside.

Our first surprise was that a visit to Denali National Park requires purchasing a ticket months in advance for one of the shuttle buses that drive through the park Since vehicles are not allowed past the first 15 or so miles into the park, the only way to get to the more remote regions near Mt. McKinley is to ride one of the buses. Although riding on a bouncy bus full of tourists for 11 hours is the antithesis of Herb's idea of exploration, he agreed that seeing Denali and the promised wildlife along the way would be worth it. If you want to camp in the park, which we did, the only choice for an RV our size is to stay a minimum of 3 nights in the Teklanika Campground, which was about 15 miles past the vehicle restriction area. So now we had 3 nights out of our 14 already locked in.

About 3 weeks before our departure, I began calling campgrounds that I really wanted to stay at on the Kenai Peninsula, just to get some information. To my horror, I found out that it was peak season and that I was already almost too late. Most of the good campsites were already reserved and there were very few sites left. In a panic, I went on a reservation binge and before I knew it, I had 9 out of my 14 days accounted for--so much for free-spiriting it across Alaska. In hindsight, I now realize that I went a bit crazy. There are plenty of alternative places to camp in Alaska besides the campgrounds. Most of the cities, such as Homer and Seward, have ample city camping and some campers just pull over to the side of the road. However, it was our first time there and I didn't want to screw up. Also, it wouldn't be just our vacation that I would be screwing up. Our friends, the Kalchbrenners, who had traveled with us during our first 3 years of cross country trips, were going to be joining us again and it was a lot more difficult to get camping for two RVs than one.

One thing I really did miss this trip though was that special feeling we get when we pull out of our driveway at the beginning of one of our cross country trips. It didn't feel quite the same in an airport limo--not to mention the twinge of guilt I felt as I glanced back at our trusty Lazy Daze sitting by herself behind the house, wondering where we were going without her.

You can download a detailed pdf Road Trip Travel Itinerary or zipped Microsoft Streets and Trips Travel Road Map file for this trip using the links shown below.

File DownloadsSize
Cross_Country_2006_Itinerary.pdf13.67 KB
Cross_Country_2006.zip2.26 KB